Sunday, October 26, 2003

Abdullah ready to face all challenges
as Malaysian PM

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct. 25 (Xinhuanet) -- Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi said Saturday he is ready to face all the challenges and problems, both within and outside the country, whenhe becomes the prime minister at the end of the month.
Abdullah said he will take on the responsibilities as Malaysia's fifth prime minister.
"I've gone to many places in the past few months and everyone has expressed support and willingness to work with me," he told a media conference here.
Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, 77, steps down as prime minister on Friday due to old age after 22 years at helm of the nation.
Abdullah called on all Malaysian people, irrespective of their race or religion, to work together to foster unity to maintain theprogress of the country.
"Actually, even if we're clever, hardworking and have the knowledge, we're helpless if the country is not safe and in chaos...that's why I'm stressing the importance of ensuring that our country is peaceful and safe," he said.
Earlier, Abdullah said that compared with the people of some countries, Malaysians should be thankful for the peace that they have enjoyed and he hoped that no one will cause any trouble to destroy the racial unity in the country.
"The government cannot accept any form of extremism, be it racial, religious or political...because extremism brings about tension in our society," he said.
He also thanked Mahathir for his great contribution to the development of the country, which he said, has won international recognition.